Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Written for the Road

Think about the most wretched day of your life. Maybe it was when someone you loved died, or when you were badly hurt in an accident, or a day when you were so terrified you could scarcely bear it. Now imagine 4,000 of those days in one big chunk. In 1978, Warren Fellows was convicted, in Thailand, of heroin trafficking and was sentenced to life imprisonment. THE DAMAGE DONE is his story of an unthinkable nightmare in a place where sewer rats and cockroaches are the only nutritious food, and where the worst punishment is the khun deo - solitary confinement, Thai style. Fellows was certainly guilty of his crime, but he endured and survived human-rights abuses beyond imagination. This is not his plea for forgiveness, nor his denial of guilt; it is the story of an ordeal that no one would wish on their worst enemy. It is an essential read: heartbreaking, fascinating and impossible to put down.

I discovered THE DAMAGE DONE while backpacking in Australia. I was so moved by the book, that I wanted to turn it as a screenplay. While in Sydney, dressed in my backpacker clothes, I managed to get a meeting with Warren Fellows’s literary agent. The agent was really excited a kid from Hollywood was interested in the material. The agent gave Fellows address and I wrote him as soon as I could, but I never heard back. In the book, Fellows wrote that he scribed the book to get the experience off his chest, not for monetary gain. I believe him. After you read the book, so will you.

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